March 4, 2013 at 8:58 PM ET
Users of the upcoming Galaxy S 4 (which was teased in a video Monday) may get to test out a whole new kind of hands-free experience. It's possible that Samsung's latest phone will utilize powerful new eye-tracking technology.
The system, first reported by the New York Times' Bits blog, would monitor the user's eyes and take action accordingly. For instance, when a person's gaze reaches the text at the very bottom of the screen, the phone could automatically scroll down.
There are other possibilities as well: The phone could pause a movie when you look away, or allow you to put in your unlock password with just your eyes. Such features have been demonstrated in other eye-tracking rigs like the Tobii Rex peripheral, but no mobile phones have anything like it.
Indeed, it's hard to imagine it possible — although with a high-definition camera on the front side of the phone, it would just be a matter of writing the software to detect and track the user's face and eyes. It sounds fancy, but Samsung isn't one to skimp on specs.
It may sound like a feature for incredibly lazy folks who don't want to even move a finger to go to the next page, but eye-tracking is very useful for the millions worldwide who are disabled, missing limbs, or otherwise unable to operate a phone normally. So while it may be just a neat trick for the tech-savvy among us, it could be of huge value to more than a few people.
The Galaxy S 4's eye-tracking system and other innovations will be described in detail at its launch event on March 14. We'll be reporting live then, but will also keep on the lookout for further leaked features in the meantime.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.